You always say yes. Even when it’s inconvenient timing or you are about to eat dinner. Your friend “needs” you yet again or your partner asks you to do this one little thing he or she just doesn’t have time to do. You might even be the go-to person at work…working long after hours, because the boss just knows that you will say yes. Yes, sure I will do this.
What are the signs?
- You try to have a good nature about everything…so it gets used. Because you naturally want something great to happen for your friend, they ask you to do more things like that. Plan an outing, sure. Keep their kids all day? Why not. You were only going to relax from exhaustion. Pay for everything because they always forget their money <<< wait. Big sign. Big. Let’s split this bill? But they ordered lobster, 2 martinis and a flaming desert brought to the table by a monkey wearing a fez. You ordered water and a salad. Say no to splitting the bill.
- What you do is clearly not appreciated...in fact, they act surprised if you mention they asked you to do x, y, z for them last weekend so you can’t right now. They do not reciprocate at all, nor will they ever. Never. Be honest with yourself. How is this making you feel right now? Are you beating yourself up for being so nice…and feeling used right now? Write down your thoughts about the last time someone used you.
- One set of rules for them…another for you. This one is huge. I had an acquaintance, I thought she was a friend actually, but I know better now, who said that a few things I did were not okay. If I made an observation for example, I was automatically judging OR gossiping. But she could turn around and say “Oh look at so and so. Umm. I just don’t like them….what do you think <<<” At that time, and that time only, I could answer. This borders on “policing” your behavior. Being told what you can and can’t do. It would be okay for her to act this way, but not me. Snapping at you in front of adults, yet had you done the same thing, you would have heard about it. This is setting limitations on what you can do, but they think it doesn’t apply to them. This is manipulation in a friendship or relationship and it is wrong.
- Being treated this way makes you feel isolated and alone. How you feel about this treatment is often ignored as well…but you are not alone. You should not feel ashamed to speak out on someone who likes to use double standards in a relationship or friendship. They have the do as I say not as I do attitude, but clearly you are starting to see this. Get out now. Go to counseling, therapy, write about it, but leave and don’t feel bad. This is NOT about you. It’s about them. All about them. They will continue to manipulate your feelings and try to turn it around so it is your fault. It isn’t.
- They rarely contact you first…unless they need something. In any type of relationship, whether it is home, friendship, relationship, work, or family, the only contact you get is when they need something. I am learning to put up better barriers against this, but this is a big sign to me that I am not important. They are too busy to listen to you, contact you, etc, but the moment they need something, the story changes. My ex-sister-in-law comes to mind right now as well as a few others who are no longer in my life. But I wouldn’t hear from that girl unless she wanted to bash my brother or have me babysit. Period. That was it for our entire “friendship”. When I was really ill, she called me. To ask me for a favor. Didn’t know I was bad off. Didn’t ever ask. Not once. That was the last time she called because I finally told her that I knew she only called me for 2 reasons and never once in 7 years asked me how I was doing.
How to handle it now.
- Talk to them first. If you don’t you only have yourself to blame.
- If talking doesn’t improve anything at all, use distance.
- If distance doesn’t work as well as you’d like, make yourself completely unavailable to them for a very long time.
- If all else fails, leave the relationship or friendship so that you can make room for new people in your life who truly value you, your gifts and what you have to offer others.
- Start your own self-care routines that truly focus on your wellness.
Want more help? See the Work With Me tab as my Closed Group frequently does lots of work around setting up safe boundaries.